Basketball demands quickness, lateral movements and explosive power. The good news is that unlike height – which can’t be taught – as long as you’re willing to put in the work, you can develop and improve in each of these areas.
We’ve put together the best basketball-specific exercises and workouts to help you bring your game to the next level.
The lateral lunge mimics basketball’s standard defensive shuffling motion. More importantly, it opens up the groin and hip muscles.
From a standing position, step to the right, keeping your toes pointed straight ahead and your feet flat. Then, squat onto your right leg, keeping your left leg straight and the weight on your right leg between your midfoot and heel. Squatting as low as possible, keep the left leg straight and hold the position for a few seconds before returning to a stand.
“In order to be explosive and jump to your maximum height, you will need to stretch out your hips and strengthen your glutes,” according to Dunk or Three. “Lucky for you, the glute bridge will do both of those things for you.”
The first step is to lie on your back and bend your knees up until your feet are flat on the floor, according to Dunk or Three. Then, lift your butt off the floor until your upper body is all the way to your knees in a straight line. For the final step, hold your position for a few seconds, then relax back down to the floor.
SINGLE-LEG HURDLE HOP:
“You have to get the lower body stronger so it can absorb force,” says Ken Croner, a former college basketball player and owner of Munster Sports Performance in Munster, Indiana, in this article for Men’s Journal.
By extending through the hip on one foot and landing on that same leg, you’re “improving your ability to land and absorb force, reducing the possibility of common basketball injuries.”
To do a single-leg hurdle hop, you need to stand on one leg in front of a line of low hurdles. Then, hop over one hurdle, sticking and holding the landing on the same leg. Repeat over the remaining hurdles, landing softly and absorbing the force through the hip and glute. Then, change sides and repeat on your opposite leg.
MEDICINE BALL SQUAT TO PRESS:
The medicine ball squat to press is designed to target jumping and explosive muscles, since the motions that you do in this exercise will mimic a jumping and extending move, while helping your body to get ready for tough competition.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold the medicine ball to your chest with both hands, according to Dunk or Three. Then, lower to a deep squat with your elbows touching your knees and your back straight. After that, explode up to a standing position, while extending the ball overhead at a full extension, then lower back into your starting position.